What is Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)


These lectures are not meant to replace your physician and are simply provided as a free educational service to all our visitors. If you feel that you have a skin problem, please see your doctor.

Atopic dermatitis or "eczema" is a chronic skin condition which often begins in early infancy. It tends to occur in individuals where others in the family may also have eczema or other allergic conditions such as hay fever or asthma. Typically this disease has periods when the skin is almost entirely normal and periods where the condition is active. Thus, a child may be troubled "on and off" for months or years, and then "grow out of it" during puberty or young adult life. The doctor cannot predict the course of this skin problem and many never "grow out of it".

When the skin condition is active there is intense itching. The affected person has an uncontrollable urge to scratch at the skin. This itching may be severe at any time but often it is particularly bad at night. Many patients will even scratch furiously at their skin while asleep!

The exact cause of this condition is not known. We can only offer help in the relief of itching, prevention of infection, and decreasing of the severity of the disease. This means, of course, that we cannot in the state of our present knowledge, cure the disease, or predict or prevent a flare up but we can help it.

In order to help this condition it is important that you be aware of several factors which make it worse and what you can do about these. Careful attention to these instructions will make an atopic patient far more comfortable.

Anytime severe itching persists, a product that is formulated in a soothing, emollient base is Sarna Lotion. Sarna Lotion is an excellent anti- itch lotion that will provide immdediate relief of itchy skin. Sarna contains 0.5 % each of camphor and menthol to provide the immediate sensation of a cool anti itch lotion. In those conditions that are characterized by chronic and recurrent itchy skin, Sarna Lotion provides the relief to calm the irritating and antagonizing symptom of itch.

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